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Most brands are getting more clued up about the importance of content marketing. But many are still getting it wrong.

In many cases, it’s because they think there’s some magic formula, and some sort of “rules”. Like the imaginary rule that a blog post needs to be less than 500 words.

A lot of businesses’ content marketing strategy seems to be focused on short-form content such as social media posting and short blog content in an attempt to “go viral” and reach as many potential consumers as possible.

In our social media age of tweets and funny cat photos, longer content (say 1000+ word blog posts, 5+ minute videos, e-books, etc.) can be easily ignored, but any savvy business owner will need to start using more long-form content in their marketing to boost engagement with existing and potential consumers.

Here are the four main reasons why:

1. People actually like stories (i.e. long form content)!

Remember – when you’re creating original content, you’re writing for real people first and foremost.

The way everybody understands the world around them is through storytelling. By taking the time to tell a compelling story that goes beyond 140 characters, you can get to the heart of your consumers’ deepest passions and desires.

A tweet, or even a 400 word blog post, can only drive a certain level of engagement with consumers, but by creating well-researched, original long form content such as e-books, white papers, videos, podcasts, and long blog posts, you can demonstrate just how well you understand your audience, that you’re willing to engage in a dialog, and that you can be trusted.

2. You show that you know what you’re talking about

Most businesses, even large companies, operate within a particular niche. When you operate in a niche, your consumers will be interested in your particular products or services because they match with their desires, needs, and expectations.

So, for niche businesses, it’s imperative to demonstrate expertise in your field to show that you know your stuff.

Of course, your white paper on lean manufacturing is not going to reach as many people as a tweet promoting an incredible deal, but nor does it need to. Long form content will keep your core client base loyal and engaged by showing expertise within a narrow field – i.e. the field you really care about and which brings in your ideal clients, not likes, shares and retweets that can’t be measured in terms of ROI.

3. Google loves long form content

Yes, you should be writing for real people, but while you’re writing for your consumers you also need to keep in mind how your content is going to rank on Google.

Content that doesn’t reach a target audience is failing in its purpose. The good news is that there’s one very simple way of getting Google to take notice of you, and that’s by creating original and useful long form content on a long-term basis.

Neil Patel from Quicksprout did some research into the power of long form content and its impact on Google rankings. He discovered that, on average, it’s content of more than 2000 words that gets ranked on the first page of Google.

graph showing how word count affects seo rankings

Longer content ranks better in search (image credit: www.quicksprout.com)

In other words, those pithy 500 word posts you’re cranking out are no match for a piece of in-depth “skyscraper” content in the eyes of Google.

Google wants to rank the best piece of content on a particular subject. Why? Because they know people want substance. People want to have the option of finding out everything there is to know about the topic. So give it to them.

4. You can create multiple content assets

Content planners and strategists are under a lot of pressure to create engaging blogs, videos, infographics, and social media posts on an ongoing basis. One of the great benefits of taking time to create well-researched, long-form content is that it can be broken down into multiple pieces of smaller content.

For example, statistics from a whitepaper can be used to create an infographic that’s then posted on Pinterest

  • An e-book can be broken down into multiple smaller blog posts
  • Quotes can be lifted from a long interview in order to create a series of social media posts
  • An interview with a thought-leader in your industry can be made into both a podcast and transcribed into a blog post
  • Almost any piece of content can be made into a Slideshare presentation

This lets you leverage your best content to get it in front of entirely new audiences. But you need to have some substance there to begin with.

Bottom line

Short form content is still hugely important for all brands and business owners, but the power of long form content simply can’t be ignored.

Any brand that wants to create deep engagement and establish itself as an authority in its niche (not to mention getting more traffic from Google) needs to start creating long-form content today.

Are you scared of long-form content? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

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